Skip to Main Content Ask About Financing

FHO Surgery in Cats

FHO surgery, also known as femoral head ostectomy, can provide an efficient and cost-effective surgical solution for hip problems in cats. In today's article, our Zeeland vets will discuss the anatomy of a cat's hips, the various joint conditions that may arise, and the details of FHO surgery and recovery.

How Hip Problems Occur in Cats

A mixture of old age, injury, and genetic predisposition can cause hip problems in cats. FHO surgery can be used to treat any of the following:

  • Hip fractures that your vet isn't able to surgically repair, either because of your cat's health or the price of the operation.
  • Hip luxation or dislocation, often associated with serious dysplasia, is commonly treated with FHO surgery. 
  • Legg-Perthes disease is a condition that affects your cat's hips. This disease is characterized by a lack of blood flow to your cat's femur and causes the part of the bone that connects with their hope to decay spontaneously, resulting in arthritis or hip damage.

Orthopedic surgery may be recommended to correct mobility issues and cat pain caused by relatively common conditions.

How Your Cat's Hip Joints Work

Your cat's hip joint works like a ball and socket mechanism. The ball sits on the end of the thigh bone, or femur, and fits inside the hip bone's acetabulum (the socket).

When the hip joint works properly, it allows your cat to move around without pain and with a wide range of motion.

However, if disease or injury disrupts this normal function, it can cause pain and limit your cat's mobility. The grinding of bones can lead to inflammation, worsening the problem.

FHO surgery is a common recommendation for cats with disrupted hip function, especially active and fit cats. The muscle mass around their joints can speed up their recovery. However, any cat in good health can have FHO surgery to alleviate hip pain.

Signs & Symptoms of Hip Pain in Cats

Your cat may have a hip problem if they exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Difficulty jumping
  • Limping when walking
  • Muscle loss around their back limbs
  • Increased stiffness and reduced range of motion

Cat FHO Surgery

During your cat's FHO surgery, the veterinarians will remove the femoral head, resulting in an empty hip socket. However, your cat's leg muscles will hold the femur in place initially, and eventually, scar tissue will develop between the acetabulum and the femur. This will lead to the formation of a "false joint" over time, and the scar tissue will act as a cushion between their bones.

The Cost of FHO Surgery

Compared to other treatment options, FHO surgery is a relatively low-cost option that can often help your cat regain pain-free mobility. The surgery cost will vary depending on different factors, so it's best to consult your veterinarian for an estimate.

How Will Your Cat Recover from FHO Surgery

Every cat is different. After their surgery, they may need to stay at the hospital for an amount of time, from a few hours to a few days, for monitoring and post-surgical care. The length of your kitty's story will depend on their health as well as a number of other factors. 

Phase 1

In the immediate days after the surgery, you and your veterinarian will focus on managing pain with prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications.

Your cat will require restricted activity either by being crated or confined to a small room where they cannot jump or run.

If your pet is not experiencing excessive pain, your vet may suggest a passive range of motion exercises to facilitate movement of your cat's hip joint through its natural range of motion once again.

Phase 2

After about one week of surgery, the second phase of recovery begins. During this phase, your cat's physical activity is gradually increased to strengthen their joints.

This helps prevent stiff scar tissue formation and improves the cat's long-term mobility. Your vet will provide you with instructions on appropriate exercises for your cat. Most cats recover fully within six weeks after the surgery.

However, if your cat has not fully recovered after this time, they may need physical therapy or rehabilitation to ensure complete recovery.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your cat suffering from a hope condition that is causing them significant pain and reducing their mobility? Contact our Zeeland vets today to book an examination for your cat.

Caring for Pets in Zeeland

Zeeland Veterinary Service is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

(616) 772-4930 Contact